Traveling north through Maine, we meet a chef who thoroughly embraces the ingredients located near him. Producing maple syrup from trees on the inn’s property and foraging for morels, Chef Anderson definitely sources ingredients locally. Along with his wife, Tracey, who also is a chef, they own and run Wings Hill Inn & Restaurant in Belgrade Lakes.
Wings Hill provides Chris and Tracey the ability to serve hearty, homestyle breakfasts to their guests and fine dining to those who make reservations. With a dining area that seats sixteen, a reservation is a must. Reviewing their menu, a call for a reservation and a drive to Belgrade Lakes will be worthy of your time.
I spoke with Chris to learn more.
TT: How many new items have you added to your menu?
CA: It’s a menu that changes weekly, but we keep the same number of items. Our menu is based on the season. Right now there are lots of fresh morels, ramps, fiddleheads.
TT: What is your favorite item on the current menu?
CA: I love the fiddleheads. I have not been anywhere else in the country that they consume fiddleheads. Just a quick blanch and shock, then sauté with garlic and season with black pepper and salt. They’re also good with bacon and vinegar.
TT: Are you able to source many of these ingredients locally?
CA: Yes, I have a couple that works as foragers. I also do some foraging, looking for morels. In the summer I also forage for chanterelles and black trumpets in the summer.
TT: Did I see correctly that you make your own maple syrup?
CA: We have a couple of trees that we tap and make our own. We also purchase maple syrup locally because we can’t produce enough. We end up getting about eighty gallons of sap, which makes two gallons of syrup.
TT: How long are your current items available for?
CA: It usually is about two to three weeks of each. Fiddleheads are simultaneous with ramps and are about done. Morels have not come in yet. They’ll be ready in about a week or so.
TT: What makes your spring menu unique?
CA: Beyond the facts that we use so much local and do a weekly change of the menu, it is the style of cuisine that I cook. It is based on classic French. I also have a huge amount of Asian and Southwest influence. It is a melting pot of American cuisine. It’s a bit of fusion, but it isn’t foofoo. Items, such as morels and foie gras, that people don’t get to see everywhere are available here.